We live in such a secular society today and many churches are facing problems because their membership has dropped in numbers so significantly. A lot of pastors feel they have to adapt to the times in order to reach those who have no interest in attending church on a regular basis. The feeling in many congregations is that in order to gain more members they have to cater to the secular needs of the people. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus told his disciples, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.“ However when he said that to his disciples, I’m sure he never intended for Christians to go to church to be entertained or to hear a watered down version of the gospel.There are some very effective ways of preaching the gospel message, but there are some parts of that message that people don’t want to hear. The mistake that a lot of pastors make is that they are so intent on getting new members in their churches that they are preaching a message that is designed to never offend anyone. By preaching a positive gospel all the time, the members of their congregations are getting false ideas about what the gospel really is.
Jesus’ death provided a way to reconcile us to God if we are willing to receive Him. If we only hear a watered down version of the gospel that doesn’t address sin, we aren’t learning that all sin threatens to separate us from God and we must repent of our sins as part of accepting Christ. Hearing a version of the gospel that doesn’t address sin, does not help us to grow as Christians.
As uncomfortable as it may make some people, real Christian teaching needs to address victory over sin and living in the light. It should never be stripped down to a positive thinking message with a Christian emphasis. Transformation in Christ must be a part of living a Christian life.
The problem with some people seems to be that they don’t feel they need to be saved and when they hear the message in church that they are perfect the way they are, they don’t feel they have to live as Christians. No one should make the claim that they don’t need to be saved, because willful rejection of Christ results in eternal death. Grace is a gift that must be received.
The message for anyone who leads a congregation is that you must be bold enough to preach the whole gospel, even if it makes people uncomfortable. When some gets those feelings, they realize that there is a lot of room for them to grow as Christians. Preach the whole gospel all the time, and if you aren’t bold enough to do that, pray for guidance from God until you are.